Member Book Reviews – #RRBC

Welcome to RRBC Member Reviews!  We know you’ve probably shared it on Amazon (or, maybe Amazon took your review down and are refusing to put it back up for whatever reason), but we’d also love to know what you thought of the RRBC books you’ve read.

Please leave the title of your book, the author of the book and your review (along with your star-rating) down below in the comments section.  Before you leave, we’d also appreciate you clicking the share buttons on this page and sending it to all your social media platforms!  Members who have had reviews removed from Amazon will get credit if they share their reviews here.

Happy Reviewing!

Flipping Over Honest Reviews

 

1,218 thoughts on “Member Book Reviews – #RRBC”

  1. Hi all, here is my 5-star review of Memories of Mom: Rave Writers Anthology:
    This collection of short stories features the most wonderful selection of mothers, all of whom are remembered most fondly by their children. As a modern working mother who has the help of a lot of modern conveniences to make life easier, and a car to drive around in, it was fascinating to read about mothers who made Christmas presents for their children, walked to and from grocery stores carrying heavy bags, worked night-time jobs to make ends meet, and performed many other acts of selflessness and devotion for the benefit of their families.

    I must admit that the mothers featured in this book certainly cooked a lot more than my generation do. Most of my contemporaries buy ready made meals from stores for their families. Breaking bread together at meal times is a great thing for families to do and these stories made me acutely aware of some things that we seem to have lost in our more modern and faster-paced world.

    Congratulations to all the contributors on a beautifully written book of memories about their special mothers.
    Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RCUX0P3ZL5N7G

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HI all, here is my 5-star review for 2-27-70 by John Podlaski:
    John Podlaski certainly knows how to write about war. He brings it right to your front door, thrusts it into you face and says: “This is war. Smell it, see it, feel it. War isn’t romantic, glamorous, or heroic. War is young men dying in the dirt. War is loss and grieving families.”

    This short story is about a young man who, lured by a good job and money, drops out of college and losses his protection against being drafted. At the age of just eighteen years old, this young man is yanked away from his loving family, handed a weapon, and sent off to fight for his country. All I could think of during the early scenes was my own son who is currently studying at university.

    Congratulations to the author on another hard hitting and revealing look at the Vietnam War.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Everyone–I posted a 5-star review of “Daisy a Day” by Harriet Hodgson today (July 30, 2022) at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2JLCLY0XPYRPZ/

    The full review is below:

    “Daisy a Day” by Harriet Hodgson is a handbook of practical tips for those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. This book is based on the author’s own experiences of coping with significant losses of family members in her life. Her beginning quote, “This book is for all who grieve. Grief links us together and we will survive it together,” sums up the goal of this book to encourage those who suffer from grief to take the next steps forward and find new meaning in life as a stronger, more empathetic person.

    The book provides nuggets of encouragement at various stages of grieving. It is divided into four sections to match a person’s journey in mourning: 1) Shock and Anguish, 2) Coping and Finding Balance, 3), A New and Meaningful Life, and 4) Making good from grief. One of the quotes that resonated with me is as follows: “The death of a child is an out-of-turn death—nature’s mistake. You are shattered because you have been robbed of the present and the future. The realization is agonizing. Be grateful for the time you had with your child.” Depending on your stage of grief, there is a nugget of advice or encouragement that will help you get through the day and survive with a greater appreciation for those moments in life that make you the most joyful.

    I encouraged readers to purchase “Daisy a Day,” as a paperback to be kept in easy reach whenever you need a tidbit of encouragement and advice to get you through a difficult time in grieving. Highly recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear All– I posted a 4-star review of WHILE THE BOMBS FELL by Robbie Cheadle today (July 30 2020) on Amazon at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/review/RGCIQT886K7CU/

    The full review is below:

    “While the Bombs Fell” by Robbie Cheadle is a WWII historical fiction of everyday life through the perspective of a young girl who lived through the WWII German bomb raids in Britain’s countryside. The key events of WWII are woven into the memories of Elsie who reflects back on her early childhood when the government had to ration goods throughout the war. The book consists primarily of significant anecdotes about the little girl’s life.

    Elsie was born into a big family in which her mother was overwhelmed with managing a big family in addition to finding ways to care for her children with limited resources. Elsie’s memories revolve around meal times, school, holidays, and basic hygiene. Rhymes sang during this time also added to the flavor of these events. One of the chores that stood out was the baths that took place every second week on Saturday evening. Water heated in a big saucepan on a paraffin heater had to be added to warm the bath.

    Author Cheadle vividly describes everyday life through the eyes of a young girl who is too young to grasp the ramifications of war, but she must live through sacrifices imposed by the government in the war effort. As with any child, Elsie’s memories center around family traditions and festive holidays such as Christmas and birthdays. Emphasis is placed on the types of meals that were served and family traditions. At the end of the book, there is a bonus of recipes for dishes mentioned in the novel. It was interesting to learn how Elsie’s mother managed to provide a secure, routine for her family despite the hardship. However, there is no central storyline to tie the events together which would have made the book more memorable.

    I recommend “While the Bombs Fell” to readers who enjoy learning about the everyday life of British families that had to make significant sacrifices in the backdrop of WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I bought Karl Morgan’s book, CARL PRESCOTT AND THE DEMON QUEEN because of the cover. It absolutely grabbed me. Although it took a chapter or two for me to fully understand the idea of the invisible hand and the power that it held, once I figured it out the plot moved along quickly. An endearing hero, engaging supporting characters, and a demon that isn’t quite what I expected combine to create an interesting plot. The realistic dialogue is well written with humor woven throughout the drama. I believe that young adults will particularly enjoy this novel of good versus evil, although it will entertain readers of all ages who enjoy fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello all! I just completed a review on Amazon for A WISH & HIS DEMAND by Karen Black. Short stories are difficult to review, but here’s mine:

    Twenty years passed since an enchanted old woman gave a young girl a special gift, one that, over time, transformed the young lady into a well-known and famous author. Unknown to her, her gift required payment of a special tariff every ten years. A demon materialized and informed the author that it is time and the next payment for the gift was due. She didn’t need money. The demon only required the soul of a loved one. How does she get out of this deal?

    The story is well-written and error-free. It pulled me in right away and held my interest until the end. Highly recommended to all age groups. Nice short story, Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. REFLECTIONS OF A MISFIT, by PTL Perrin is excellent! This beautifully written book of reflections describes experiences of the author and those close to her that are amazingly relatable. Told in a modern day, down-to-earth style, the author put together a collection of situations, with reference to historical similarities, many of which I found inspirational. It is emotional, educational, entertaining and most of all convincing.

    With the Bible as a major reference throughout, the author doesn’t preach, yet makes an excellent case for the power of prayer and the blessings that can be gained through that belief. For Christians, some of the stories will be familiar but they take on a different feeling when compared to a current, yet similar, situations. It is a book that I will return to over and over. I think it is that good!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. THE ONE DISCOVERED, by Yvette Calleiro, is a fantasy that will entertain readers who enjoy YA novels. Sofia is a high school student, whose boyfriend, Rafe, has been her buddy since childhood. Their mothers are long time friends, so Sofia and Rafe grew up together and their relationship is a natural progression. Will it last? She appears to be a normal teenaged girl but there is something very special about her.

    Her world is rocked when her dreams meld with reality to convince her that she has power that she never realized and a responsibility to fulfill her destiny. In order to achieve success, however, she must leave the life she knows, including Rafe. What is real and what is imagined?

    The nicely developed characters are typical teenaged personalities and the good vs. evil plot in this YA fantasy will keep your attention. The story moves a bit slowly at times, but overall is an enjoyable read. https://www.amazon.com/review/R2ELDYWRJB6X6X/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_e Cty

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If you have ever been owned by a cat, you will probably appreciate Joy M. Lilly’s short story, JOYFUL PUSSYCAT TALES. If you’ve never been owned by a cat, you will get an education. When a cat tells a story, he tells it like it is. With great illustrations and sweet photographs, five adopted pussycats describe life in their new homes. Tales of teaching youngsters to respect the kitty, hunting wild creatures to the chagrin of their humans, learning to live with kitty competition and simply being cats will be most appreciated by those who are owned by a feline. Sometimes they’re good, and sometimes they are borderline wicked but the pussycat story tellers are always loved. This children’s book made me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I just posted my review of ESCAPING THE WOODS, a short story, by Yvette Calleiro.

    Not happy about leaving her home near the beach, Isabella is sure she’s going to hate her new home in Mississippi. There are no beaches in Mississippi but there are woods. When her new friend, Janine, takes her on a hike, things don’t go quite as expected.

    The main characters are effectively described and their actions bring them to life. Do you remember the days when you played outside, explored the neighborhood, and had to be home when the street lights came on? If so, this story will bring back memories. It is a fun to read short story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Just posted my review of Karen Black’s terrific short story, Vindictive Angel, on Amazon. I tried hard not to give too much away, especially after a recent discussion at a member zoom meeting! Here it is, with a 5-star rating:
    Julie, the heroine of this story, makes an explosive entrance on page one that you won’t soon forget. Ms. Black has created an original and vibrant character here, and as a reader I held my breath, waiting to see what would happen next. Julie is a surgeon and sees things no one should have to see. Rather than complain about the problems of society and the justice system, she decides to do what she can to help. The story is written in a clear, straightforward style, with colorful descriptions. Supporting characters are well developed, too, especially Julie’s adoring husband, Devon, a homicide detective hot on the trail of a vigilante killer. This story is a roller coaster ride, with events occurring quickly and the reader’s curiosity about how it could possibly end building with each page. The ending is a surprise – and absolutely perfect! Enthusiastically recommend this five-star short story.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If you’re looking for a quick read, I recommend HIDDEN TARGET by Breakfield and Burkey. With gun powder in the background, chemistry is apparent when Brayson and Marian meet at the gun range. They immediately connect and find that they complement each other in more ways than one. Short and sweet, HIDDEN TARGET is an entertaining tale. It isn’t easy to develop characters in a short story, but both Brayson and Marian are memorable and believable The storyline moves along quickly and is just the right length to provide a lunchtime escape.

    Like

  13. Hello all! I just completed my 5-star review of I’LL BE RIGHT BACK by Maura Beth Brennan and pasted it here for you.

    I’LL BE RIGHT BACK by Maura Beth Brennan grabbed me from the very first paragraph. I’ve read most of her other books and found them all compelling. In this story, Warren is much older than Iris. He comes from money and tells his young wife that she doesn’t have to work anymore. His mother is overbearing and never liked Iris. She continues to chastise Warren for marrying her. He is so much in love with his wife that he’ll do anything for her. Then she suddenly disappears while walking the dog during a snowstorm. What he discovered next is a shock. But it doesn’t dissuade him and he sets out to find her and bring her home. Highly recommended for any age group. Another fine gem from this author.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hello Everyone! Hope you had a great Fourth of July!

    Here’s my five-star review of Maura Beth Brennan’s I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.

    His overbearing mother warned him not to marry Iris, that “gold digger showgirl,” but he did anyway. They lived out in the country in a big house; he was happy, she pretended to be. One snowy night, she insisted on taking their dog, Petal, for a walk. She managed to bring the dog home and then Iris disappeared. She had told him she’d “be right back.”

    This short story takes you on the journey he undertakes to find Iris, what he goes through in the process, and how he fulfills a longtime promise to her. His meddling mother gets what she wants as well, but not the way she’d hoped for.

    This story has many interesting side journeys that add to the flavor of the piece as well. I enjoyed it very much..

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hello Everyone–Here’s my five-star review of Karen Black’s Close Your eyes and They’re Gone:

    When I first began reading this story, I didn’t want to finish because the topic of child trafficking is normally so difficult. However, I continued because this author’s writing drew me in and kept me interested in the story of Lily Baker and her mother and how a stranger coerced Lilly into getting into his car.

    This is a well-crafted story told with skill and what I like to think of as “breadcrumbs”–small clues that offer the reader potential insights about what may lie ahead. Notice I said “may” lie ahead, because this author’s works are filled with surprises.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. My 5-star review of Two Faces of Janus by Linnea Tanner:
    This short story is a realistic and well written account of life in Ancient Rome.

    Lucius’ is ambitious to get into politics and hopes to be sponsored by Augustus Caesar, until the day when Janus shows his fickleness and Lucius’ father is found guilty by the Caesar on a trumped up charge of treason. Even more upsetting is the fact that other men have received a far lessor sentence for the same crime. Lucius quickly realises that the political path is strew with corruption, favouritism, and even lies.

    The story delves into the complex lives of the wealthy and privileged among Roman society and the political knife-edge they live on. These nobles own slaves and seem to have everything, but they live at the whim of the Caesar who, in Augustus’ case, is an unstable and egomaniacal despot.

    This is a compelling short read which will leave you wanting to learn more about these characters.
    Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1X8OCA8DOZMI5

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My 5-star review of Crossroads Diner by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

    Jaunita has worked at the diner for a long time. She is a veteran and has learned to comfort the new diners that arrive. They are all on their way somewhere else but some of them make a very short stop, so short that the staff of the diner can barely keep up, and others make a longer stop. It is impossible to know when they arrive, how long each visitors stay will be. Jaunita is hoping that eventually she will work her way out of the diner and move on to something better, but she has no idea how long it will take. Her stay has already been unusually long as her history is complicated.

    One evening when a particularly bad blizzard has resulted in even more visitors to the diner than usual, in walks a curious man she calls The Cowboy. It is soon evident that this strange man will be staying for a while and Jaunita feels hope for the future for the first time in a long while.

    A well written and entertaining short read.
    Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/review/RIJDMSMDLT0QW

    Liked by 2 people

  18. For an entertaining short story, I recommend I’LL BE RIGHT BACK, by Maura Beth Brennan. With an engaging main character, this well done short story made me smile. Warren’s mother says, “There’s always one who loves the other more,” and he has no doubt he is the one. Told in the first person, his emotions are palpable and his actions believable. Iris is proof that opposites attract. Petal is delightful; she enhances the story.

    The author has successfully written a love story, although not a romance, with a perfectly satisfying ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Today I saw that John Podlaski has a new release, 2-27-70. I grabbed a copy, read it this evening, and would like to share my review.

    Instead of the usual celebration of birthday cake, balloons and pierogi, 2-27-70 was a day of anticipation, reflection and ultimately a not particularly happy new beginning. In typical fashion, the author paints a picture that draws the reader into its center. I could smell the aroma of freshly baked cake and see young George’s cheeks seemingly ready to burst before his siblings came to the rescue, as he tried to blow up balloons for his dad’s annual birthday party.
    When John woke up on his dad’s birthday in 1970, however, the jovial atmosphere was somber, and understandably so. Why? You’ll need to read this thought provoking short story to discover the reason and find out how John moved forward from 2-27-70. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi all, I have posted two five star reviews on Amazon.

    Contemplations of a Woman Turning 65, by Pat Garcia, was an awesome read for the older crowd. My review begins.. Author Pat Garcia masterfully depicts a character many readers will relate to. Tessie, a 64-year-old lady mourns the loss of close girlfriends. Never married, she reviews her life dwelling on her lack of family. This unexpected read will resonate with those who feel life has passed them by. I delighted in her foreshadowing in the excerpt below.

    Vindictive Angel, by Karen Black, was a chilling and surprising from beginning to end. My review begins…The incomparable author, Karen Black, takes her readers on an unbelievable journey of love, hate, and death. From the opening scene, Julie’s character development is detailed and compelling. She is a strong woman committed to her beliefs without considering any consequences.

    Check out both of these winners.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Hello Everyone–Here’s the five-star review I just posted on Amazon of Karen Black’s “Vindictive Angel”:

    In the Wild West, vigilante justice was the norm. If the criminals weren’t punished through the courts, members of the general public would often take matters into their own hands.

    The author’s attention to detail in her writing is coupled with a creative approach to demonstrating to readers what is going on. Will detective Devon Mahoney figure out the mystery and make the connection?

    I enjoyed this book mainly because of the author’s skill with presenting the individual cases of each criminal who’d evaded prosecution and why they were less-than-model citizens.

    I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read mysteries and who follows “breadcrumbs” as the author drops subtle hints throughout the book. A definite five-star.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Hi All–I posted my 5-star review of MEMORIES OF MOM: Rave Soup For The Writer’s Soul Anthology, 2022 Kindle Edition” on Amazon. Even though each memory is unique, each author speaks universal truths about how a mother can impact their children. The introduction says that you must breathe them in for yourself. Reading these snippets of memories will make you both laugh or cry when thinking about your own mother.

    Universal lessons learned from your mother include: embrace moments in life [Charles Breakfield]; search for a positive outlook [Harriet Hodson]; learn a skill so you can depend on yourself for a living [Linnea Tanner]; approach life with optimism, acceptance, wit, gratitude, and love [Marian Beaman]; keep in mind your reputation as you carry yourself and interact with others [Nonnie Jules]; live life with an unquenchable spirit [PTL Perrin]; enjoy music, stick to your guns, work hard, enjoy the simple things, keep promises made, and relentlessly chase your dreams [Rox Burkey].

    Other heartfelt memories by Pat Garcia, Robbie Cheadle, and Wanda Adams Fisher particularly moved me. Pat recounted the last days with her dying mother and the eulogy she delivered at her funeral. Robbie told of how she, as a four-year-old girl, had to adjust to a new sister who was born prematurely and took their mother’s complete attention. Robbie gave one of her special dolls from her “Nannie” to a dark-eyed, black farm girl she befriended while living in the countryside for a few months—a lesson on how to share with others who are less fortunate. Wanda told of her “firebrand” mother, who had a “heart of gold, polished over the years by struggle, poverty, and hardship.”

    And finally, Yvette M. Calleiro wrote a poem about her mother’s hands that showed her life’s journey.

    Reading these memories will elicit memories of your mother and her legacy—highly recommended for those who like stories that touch the soul.

    The review can be found at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/MEMORIES-MOM-Rave-Writers-Anthology-ebook/dp/B09ZRK4L6B/

    Liked by 2 people

  23. A great day to all! I recently reviewed VINDICTIVE ANGEL by Karen Black on Amazon and gave it 5-stars. Here it is in its entirety:

    How would you feel if a known killer or abuser of children somehow escaped punishment because of a witness disappearing or an arresting officer forgetting to read the perp his rights? You’d be pissed, right? Would you kill that person if you had the means?

    Four perps, who gained their freedom because of a technicality, were all found murdered during the last two years. Would you cheer the killer?

    Recent clues are steering the police toward the killer. Will they learn the identity of a serial killer or find they are dealing with a Vindictive Angel?

    Great story, without errors, one that kept me captivated until the end. Highly recommended! Another great story, Karen!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. HI everyone, here is my review of Hype by Yvette M. Calleiro:
    Hype was a most interesting read for me. I grew up and attended school in South Africa and my experience was very different from the life of a school girl described in this book. I couldn’t help thinking that the strict rules I grew up with were helpful in preventing some of the prejudices towards other people, based on their appearance and behaviour, that were described in this book. We wore school uniforms, had to tie our hair back and wore no makeup. We most certainly did not demonstrate affection towards the opposite sex during school hours. It was an excellent insight into school life in America.

    Cici is a popular cheerleader and her boyfriend, Ryan, is on the football team and is also popular. He is voted Homecoming King which demonstrates his place on the schoolboy social ladder. Cici is an interesting character as she is totally self absorbed and selfish in many ways, but she is devoted to her mother and wants the best for her. This love is exploited later in the story. Despite her giddiness and obsession with maintaining her social position at school, Cici is naïve and innocent. This aspect of her character is demonstrated a few times in the book.

    When Cici’s mother, a successful lawyer who works long hours, decides to marry a man she met six months previously, Cici discovers that one of the most uncool girls in the school, a Goth the students call Grub, will become her step-sister. Cici is most displeased abut this situation and doesn’t want Grub raining on her parade. Cici, however, comes to realise that bad things can happen in life and these events can shape a person and cause them to exhibit certain behaviours. Cici comes to appreciate Grub when her own life spins out of control.

    This book tackles the difficult subject of schoolgirl rape and I felt those scenes were well handled and appropriate for a YA audience. The horror of the situation was conveyed without the author going into to much detail. The book also covers the type of counselling and student support that is available in the American school system which was interesting.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1FJIFJIJN1Z1Y

    Liked by 1 person

  25. CONTEMPLATIONS OF A WOMAN TURNING 65, by Pat Garcia, is not what I expected. Contemplating her mortality, Tessie isn’t sure what she has to live for. Her friends have passed, she lives alone, a 64 year old virgin whose 65th birthday isn’t far away. Is it too late to dream of love, even a family? “Doesn’t every girl dream of one day finding her Prince Charming…?” The author has penned a heartfelt short story with a memorable main character and I was absolutely charmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. MEMORIES OF MOM I AWARDED A 5STAR REVIEW.
    Who could not enjoy these fourteen stories of Memories of Mom. In the U.K. we call her Mum and I did so much of that while growing up. The theme for me dipicts Mother’s constant dancing in attendance to her children and showing her love for them.
    I was touched by Wanda Adams Fisher’s story ‘Sharing and Caring’of her mom making her lunch to take to school and telling her to give half to a kid she saw without lunch and telling Wanda that that maybe the only food they get all day.
    And Nonnie Jules words of the book of there being ‘no one in the world who could ever replace her,so I beseech you to hold onto her because one day you might have to finish this life without her.’
    I shed many tears whilst reading the lovely stories of writers mothers, but none as much as those last words in the book. Thank you all.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. I have read and posted the review on Amazon (on May 26, 2022) under Gabby
    A Candle in the Darkness By Karen Black

    A short read with encouragement in the supernatural realm:
    Escaping from her family’s onerous condolences, Valerie trudged into a long drive in stormy weather. The author employs the flashing lightning, whistling gusts of wind, and violent rain to reflect Valerie, the main character’s, profound grief for her husband’s sudden death. Devastated, she is convinced that her husband is gone forever. An emergency tornado warning prompts her to find shelter in an unassuming traveler’s motel amid her desperation. The story evolves nicely from this point. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, Ms. Black tactfully instills warmth into the storyline and Valerie’s heart through the canning jar candle, the brief conversations in the cellar with Dorene, the motel owner, the root beer, and the other companies, Stephen and one couple.
    The story is wrapped up in an inspirational and hopeful fashion: Loved ones may be gone physically, but their spirits can remain around to provide comfort and hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading “Candle,” Eichin. It is one of the first stories I wrote and while it is, of course, fiction, I believe there is some truth to the premise. I am so pleased that you understood what I was trying to convey.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I reviewed The Ex Chronicles, by Maura Beth Brennan. With a sense of humor that I loved, the author has woven a short story that should make most readers smile. Angie is in love, or maybe it’s lust. Either way Bryce is her guy, even though she isn’t necessarily his gal, at least not the only one. When Angie sets out to confront Bryce, her plans go laughably awry. She leaves him and goes home, where her mother’s matter of fact opinions and “fractured cliches” are priceless. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I just completed my 5-star review of Hype by Yvette Calliero on Amazon. This was a really good story and, of course, flawlessly rendered by Yvette. My apologies to Yvette for taking so long to post the review. I’m a terrible slowpoke! Here’s the review:
    I began reading Hype even though I’m not particularly a YA fan. However, I am a fan of Ms. Calleiro, who always delivers an engaging story. I was not disappointed. This is a well-written tale about high-schoolers and their concerns, including the most gut-wrenching of concerns – sexual assault. The characters are well-drawn and feel authentic, right down to the over-confidence and cockiness of the main character, Cici, and her belief that, as one of the popular crowd and a cheerleading captain, the world is destined to go her way. The story initially seems to support that view, but things change for Cici as her widowed mother remarries and Cici suddenly acquires a stepfather and a stepsister—Gaby, known as “Grub” and one of the school outcasts. My only complaint about this book was that there was so much detail about the day to day lives of these teenagers. I would have enjoyed the beginning of the book more without quite so many mentions of classes, meetings, schedules, etc. Although that slowed down my interest initially, the plot soon pulled me in as I sensed an undercurrent of danger in one of the character’s interest in Cici. I won’t give away the main storyline, but for me the tension built as that character’s interest and involvement in Cici’s life grew. I especially loved the interaction between Cici and her new stepsister and nemesis, Gaby. Gaby really had my sympathies and as she finally reveals to Cici why she acts as she does, the story really came together and delivered a satisfying climax. Highly recommended, especially for YA readers.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Good evening, all! I just completed a 5-star review on Amazon and elsewhere for MEMORIES OF MOM: RAVE SOUP ANTHOLOGY, 2022. Here is my review in its entirety:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the fourteen short stories in MEMORIES OF MOM: RAVE SOUP ANTHOLOGY, 2022. Even though each story depicts memories of a different mother, I found a common thread in all of them: A mother’s love for their children. In fact, I can take snippets from each story and work up a description that would fit my mother to a “T”. We always knew our mother as the farmer’s daughter.

    My mother died ten years ago at 89, her final year as a resident in a memory nursing home. She had dementia, and every visit and story was a new experience for her. During that time, we siblings learned something about her she kept a secret all her life. She was experiencing flashbacks and suffered during her nightly nightmares; reliving events from her younger days. This is how we learned that during WWII, she harbored Jews and helped them escape from Germany. Some of her dreams forced her to relive those times when German secret police sought her out, and when not finding her and my newborn sister in their hiding places, the Gestapo took away her supporting neighbors instead – never to be seen again.

    Unfortunately, she had no recollection of these events during the day and could not answer questions about her life during the war. We could only put together bits and pieces of her during that time – not enough to even write a short story – by what the nursing staff reported the following day. We wondered how different our lives would have been if we knew this all along. In her case, a mother’s love extended beyond her immediate family.

    Don’t miss out on this anthology – snag your copy. I’m certain you will find a part of your mother in these fine accounts. Thank you, Nonnie Jules, for putting this all together.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. I read MEMORIES OF MOM and loved it! What an outstanding collection of memories, written by members of RRBC and RWISA! I have reviewed the book on Amazon. “…Where the memories you make with your children are forever ingrained in their hearts.” MEMORIES OF MOM is an absolutely delightful collection of memories from fourteen different authors that will take the reader through a variety of emotions. I doubt that there is anyone, who won’t identify with at least one memory, and most will find half a dozen recollections that remind them of their own mom.

    Did you ever wonder about those eyes in the back of her head? Could it be that she was the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter and had supernatural abilities? It could be, but more than likely she was a typical mom who just knew what her children were up to. And there is, of course, the almost magical qualities of a mother’s hands and everything those hands manage to accomplish over a lifetime.
    What you teach your children is what they learn and a lot of what you teach, you learned from your mom. “Thanks, Mom!” It’s a quote that we might not repeat often enough.

    Perfect for Mother’s Day, these wonderfully written memories will be appreciated any time of year. This is one of those books that is meant to be read over and over.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Happy Monday to all. I just completed my review of Mennonite Daughter: The story of a plain girl by Marian Beaman. Here is her 4-star review in its entirety:

    Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl by Marian Beaman is a memoir like no other that I’ve read. It is a story of a young girl growing up in Lancaster, PA, and raised in the Mennonite religion. It’s a strict religion, and readers will learn about the many rules and regulations regarding this sect. It’s emphatic on wearing a ‘plain’ wardrobe and following a ‘plain’ existence.

    Marian’s father beat her periodically for her outspoken personality and failure to follow his rules. She was a rebel at a young age and was already determined that this life was not what she wanted. In high school, she visited New York City with classmates which helped her decide.

    Unlike the Amish and Quakers, I didn’t read that the Mennonites join as a community to help neighbors erect new buildings, assist with planting and harvesting, etc., but they drove cars, had electricity, and watched television. Maybe it is so, but the author chose not to include it in her work. To me, it seemed like it was every extended family for themselves.

    I noticed some repetition in the story and had to pause in places when the author jumped back and forth in time. For instance, writing about things when she was fourteen and then jumping to when she was sixteen, then returning to the earlier timeframe. I also thought there was an overuse of scripture verses in the story. Otherwise, this was an error-free and interesting story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, John, for taking the time to write a very detailed review of my memoir. And I’m glad that you learned something new about a specific culture in a bygone time and setting. Again, thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

  33. Amazon has just posted my review of Joy Lilley’s Figs, Vines, and Roses: https://www.amazon.com/review/RHXF63PI7DT5A/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

    Here is the review:
    Figs, Vines, and Roses, an English historical romance by Joy Lilley, charts three generations of the Merryweather family beginning in nineteenth century Derbyshire and later moving to Kent. The star of the narrative is Isabel (Izzy) Merryweather, who begins an innocent, comfortable life, expected to learn the social graces as a young girl and then marry well within her social class.

    The idyllic setting is soon interrupted with conflict, even scandal, which moves the plot line forward. There is the suggestion of incest, a torrid love affair, an unwanted pregnancy, and loss of various family members, even a beloved pet. At least twice the author embeds the title Figs, Vines, and Roses into the narrative, perhaps to underscore the novel’s themes. I saw the figs as symbolizing fruitfulness and fertility; roses, representing true love; and vines, indicating various familial connections.

    It is obvious author Lilley understands the historical context of the period which she may have enriched with additional research. The book shines when Lilley uses dialogue but lags with extensive exposition. Overuse of the passive voice interfered somewhat with the readability. Still, there is much to love about the main character Izzy, her unfolding hopes and dreams, which eventually extends to embracing a fulfilling career, almost unheard of with an upper-class woman in this era.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. 5 stars for Maura Beth Brennans short story ‘I’ll be right back’
    A well written short story. Maura Beth always manages to create interesting, unusual characters.Those who don’t seem to follow the expectations of others.
    The story focuses around an unlikely married couple.He much older,she from the wrong side of the tracks.
    If you like a tale that has a most unexpected ending,
    “I’ll be right back” Is one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I have read and reviewed Two Faces of Janus by Linnea Tanner. 5-Star

    Two Faces Of Janus is an authentically written short story that takes place in Ancient Rome. The male protagonist, Lucius Antonius, is a young man from a rich and politically influential family. He is cautiously optimistic, because of his family’s influence and familial connections to Emperor Augusta Caesar, that he will be appointed to the Imperial Court as a praetor. He is hoping for the two-faced god Janus, the god of new beginnings, to favor his path to this new success. Little does he know, there are highly charged political undercurrents at work that are beyond his control.

    This becomes a case of guilt by association or the sins of the father scenario. Augustus makes demands of Lucius that force him to make hard choices and determine what is really important to him.

    This story is eloquently written and an immediately engaging story. The authentic descriptions and dialogue put me in every scene, taking me back in time. Ms. Tanner does a wonderful job of conveying the internal struggle’s Lucius faces, and his actions as he maneuvers the situation are believable. I was so drawn into the lives of these characters I had to look up their history. For me, this story was history coming to life in the words of Linnea Tanner. I highly recommend this shot story.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I have read and posted reviews on Amazon (on February 11, 2022) under Gabby.

    Hype (Five stars)
    by Yvette M. Calleiro

    A must-read book for teenagers and young adults

    The first thing I noticed upon opening this book is that this manuscript, HYPE, is written in the first-person point of view with the present tense. As I read along, I understood and applauded the author’s choice; it’s appropriate for this genre and age group. It also powerfully drives the narrative forward as the story unfolds.
    Adolescence is the period of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. It’s a time filled with excitement, challenges, turbulences, confusion, and temptation. Ms. Calleiro depicts these youngsters’ experiences with keen yet sensitive phrasings. The dialogues and scenes are well crafted, reliable, and engaging, even for readers far beyond that age.
    In the first half, the tones and voices of the main characters are fun and light-hearted, yet readers can sense the undercurrent of distress through the author’s skillful plotting. In the second half, the primary character, Cici, encounters unexpected horrendous events, which change her life forever. Ms. Calleiro demonstrates her superior writing expertise in illustrating Cici’s internal despairs and wranglings facing the unspeakable ordeal.
    This book, HYPE, uncovers a hidden tragedy in society and how it affects the unfortunate youngsters’ psychology and life; the scar can linger and last forever. However, the author also provides positive guidance and outlook for the victims, with an upbeat ending. Another profound message conveyed through this book is: Do not judge a person by their appearance. Be compassionate because you never know what they are going through.
    I strongly recommend this book for teenagers and young adults! (less)

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I have read and posted the review on Amazon (on February 11, 2022) under Gabby.

    Two Faces of Janus: Story of Ancient Rome (Five stars)
    by Linnea Tanner

    This book starts with a concise yet succinct description of the family background of a young man, Lucius Antonius. Despite the hint of the family’s trouble past, he was jubilant and filled with hope and political ambition that brilliant, carefree afternoon.
    In the following paragraph, the author cleverly applies Ovid’s epic poem to foretell what may unfold. The interaction with his good friend, Gaius Caesar, in the garden and depiction of the changing atmosphere, “A shadow from a storm cloud drifted over us,” shows tension gradually building up. Readers can appreciate Ms. Tanner’s outstanding writing mastery in just one chapter.
    Throughout the rest of the manuscript, the author transports readers back to two thousand years ago with vivid accounts of the architecture, wardrobes, scenes, and dialogs in that era. At the same time, Ms. Tanner tactfully portrays the familiar human pitfalls of power-hunger and manipulative design for personal and political gain, which haven’t seemed to change across time and space.
    The story concluded with Lucius’ exile as a pariah amid his sorrow and suppressed vengeance. He contemplated whether Janus had completely shut the door or would open the door for him in the future while he sets his slave-lover free.
    This manuscript is a well-written short yet profound narrative. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Greetings, everyone. I recently read Genuine Deceit by Joy York and finally posted a review. It is an easy to read, entertaining mystery that will keep the reader engaged. The story line is a good one. It grabbed me at the outset, and notwithstanding some slow spots, kept my attention through the unexpected ending. The characters are well defined. The dialogue was appropriate for the circumstances and believable. If you enjoy mysteries, this one is probably for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Happy National Vietnam Veterans Day! I just completed my 4-star review of GENUINE DECEIT by Joy York. It is as follows:

    Reagan Asher’s grandmother was brutally murdered by a burglar in her home. Why?

    When Reagan comes to the small town in Ohio to bury her grandmother and to help in the investigation, her friend, Mattie, dispatches her brother-in-law, Aiden – a former Navy Seal – to help protect Reagan while she’s in town.

    Suppose everything you ever learned in life about your family was not real…
    Suppose you discover that the props you played with as a child were real…

    More break-ins occur and the home is eventually trashed – grandma must have hidden something of value. Surely not the costumed jewelry as there was no interest in them.

    Reagan and Aiden take it upon themselves to find the killer. They do find a stash of jewels hidden in a decades-long box in one of the rooms; why they were hidden and who put them there? Surely this is what the burglars are after.

    The killer(s) feel that Reagan knows where the jewels are hidden. Characters are kidnapped, shot, and beaten severely in attempts to locate the missing items. Reagan and Aiden are not telling. There are so many questions that require answers and the author continues to tease readers with twists and turns along the way. The final chapter brings everything together and will definitely floor readers when the bomb is dropped.

    I have to admit some portions of the story dragged on, especially when re-telling the same thing to different characters…this happened a few times. Eliminating those would shorten the story and help to maintain an exciting pace instead of bogging down. I also found several typos/added words that I will share with the author in a PM.

    All-in-all, Ms. Joy York did a wonderful job in keeping readers guessing during this edge-of-your-seat ride. I recommend Genuine Deceit to everyone who enjoys a great who-done-it.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Hi all. Happy March almost over. I posted my 5 star review for Flipping by Eichen Chang-Lim on Amazon. It begins, Author Eichin Chang-Lim weaves a story of college, family and community struggles set in Taipei. The main characters, Jon-Sun, the night student and SuAnn the day student, are opposites socially and financially in their family make up. The traditions are strong and forgiveness for parental disobedience non-existent. Grab this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Today I posted my review of Handprints by Wanda Fisher. I gave this story 5 stars as it was expertly written and an error-free, clean read. Great job, Wanda! Here is the review:
    Handprints is a lovely short story that can be read in one sitting. The main character, Edna, had been placed in a mental institution by her abusive husband, something that was apparently easy to do back in the 1940’s, where this story begins. She calls herself Edna St. Vincent Millay, claiming to be the famous woman poet. The author leaves a bit of doubt as to whether Edna really believes this and is therefore truly mentally ill or is just adopting this charade as a way to create a bearable world for herself in her drastic circumstances.

    On her first day in the institution, Edna meets another woman, Ann, who she christens Ann of Green Gables, and the two become close friends. Edna envies Ann because Ann has a daughter who comes to visit her and Edna is visited by no one. Ann’s daughter leaves her children in the car outside the institution when she visits with her, and Edna tries to make a connection to one of them through the window. It is her way of reaching out for human touch, for recognition. The ending of the story plays beautifully with that theme and is a touching and fitting conclusion.

    This story is beautifully written and a clean, error-free read. I gave this story five stars and highly recommend it.

    Liked by 1 person

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